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Spade cultivation
Rigs and fields
Forestry and other first ploughing
main image Land ploughed for forestry, Dumfries-shire
Much of Scotland was once covered in woodland. Oak dominated in the lowlands, Scots pine and birch in the Highlands. Over the centuries, this was cut down, burnt or prevented from regenerating by grazing livestock. After World War I, in 1919, the Forestry Commission was set up to develop Britain's woodlands. Most new planting was of fast-growing conifers.

Much of the land used was marginal. Ploughing in preparation for tree planting erased the evidence of many years of cultivation and settlement. The problem was heightened by favourable tax regimes, which encouraged private investment in forestry.

More recently, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland has maintained an afforestable land survey to check such lands for archaeological remains and minimise their loss under afforestation.

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